Featured Poets, Feb 2024                     home page
 

Ann Segrave       Christine Vial       Jenny Hamlett       Kate Foley       Marion Ashton       Nicola Warwick       Stevie Krayer       Wendy French      

You may also wish to listen to poem recordings that have been added to our (small but growing!) digital archive. We have poems there by:
 
Nadine Brummer, Daphne Gloag, Gill Horitz, Mimi Khalvati, Lottie Kramer, Gill Learner, Gill McEvoy (read by Anne Stewart), Maggie Norton, Jennie Osborne, Elizabeth Soule, Jill Townsend, Marion Tracy, Fiona Ritchie Walker, Sarah Westcott and Lynne Wycherley.
 
Select and listen here               Poets of the Month (other dates)  

Ann Segrave

Ann Segrave lives in East Sussex and is inspired by the South Downs which surround her. Her first collection, Aviatrix, was published by Oversteps Books in 2009, followed by Persimmon in 2014. She has read at Dartington, the Troubadour and locally.

Aviatrix

To gain a bird’s eye view –
windhover’s sight.
Not counting scale or distance
but feeling the sweep and pull
of landscape in ascendance.
Roads thin, electric threads,
houses squat shelters pitched against the rain.

And she, my aviatrix – bird woman –
Will find her scope at last,
cease, like a hawk replete, to fret
and tangle in her forked routines.
See clearly or, renouncing sight,
let the wind take her to another place
where no thick objects cry out to be stacked,
no eyes and voices ground her urgent flight.

Ann Segrave

Poem first published in The Charleston Magazine, Issue 10, Autumn/Winter 1994;
and included in collection Aviatrix

Publication: Aviatrix, 2009, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978 1 906856 08 3, £8.

Ann Segrave website
 
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Christine Vial

East-end baby-boomer, now living in Enfield (North London) where she teaches literature and creative writing. Widely published & a popular live performer. Debut pamphlet: ‘Dancing in Blue Flip-flops’ pub autumn 2018. More info at poeticvoiceslive

“A Flask of Wine, A Book of Verse and Thou… ”

     The Last Word Cafe at the British Library
 
In a corner, a young French woman is teaching French
to a young Iranian. He, in his turn, is teaching her Persian.
English is the language they share for this transaction.
“And why do you want to learn French?” she asks him.
“Because I love French cinema and art. One day I hope
to live in Paris”. They are waiting for a performance
of the Ruba‘iyat of Omar Khayayyam in Persian and in English.
 
And so are we – in another corner – where I’m speaking
Brick Lane Cockney to my American husband: two nations
divided by a common language. Both his names are Dutch.
My father’s surname is Huguenot, from the exiled weavers
of Spitalfields, and my mother’s maiden name is Lenihan.
 
In the global village, commonality usually means Coca-Cola
and diversity means danger. But here – held in this edge of glass –
our shared and different languages weave a map of poetry
flung out bright and hopeful against the winter sky.

Christine Vial

Poem first published in Barnet Poetry Competition Anthology, 2011;
in pamphlet collection Dancing in Blue Flip-Flops, 2018;
audio online at poeticvoiceslive (see below)

Publications:
Dancing in Blue Flip-Flops, 2018, RQpoetry pamphlets, ISBN 978-1-9010171-9-2, £5
(proceeds to Freedom from Torture’s “Write to Life” group);
a selection of Christine’s poems appears in each of the following anthologies:
Doing Christmas Differently, 2006, Wild Goose publications; Home, 2007, CETH; Taste, 2008, CETH; The Book of Love and Loss, 2014, Belgrave Press

Christine Vial at poeticvoiceslive
 
e-mail Christine Vial

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Jenny Hamlett

Jenny Hamlett has an MA in creative writing, has facilitated writing workshops and was Poet in Residence for Cassies, a garden on the Isle of Wight. She organised Penzance Poetry Society Stanza and is the current Treasurer of Moor Poets in Devon.

The Grey Mare’s Waterfall

     Kinlochleven
 
Discovered late evening
                the fall
is the colour of a woman’s hair
 
as she strides
                her last few years.
 
This sheer beauty
                offers no pulling back
 
from the uninhibited
                plunge
down vertical rock
 
a snatching of time,
                hurling it
into the pool.
 
If seconds were iron bars
                she could jam
in the cog wheels of a mill
 
she could not keep them,
                against this grey fall.
 
Better to turn away
                climb
one slow, hard step
 
after another towards
                the winter pass
at Lairigmor.
 

Jenny Hamlett

in collection Playing Alice, Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2017;
previously in ARTEMISpoetry Issue 7, 2011
and Words in Air app, 2013

Publications:
Playing Alice, 2017, Indigo Dreams Publishing, ISBN 978-1-9108343-2-9
Talisman, 2009, Indigo Dreams Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9561991-9-5
The Sandtiger, 1994, Longman, ISBN 0-582-12169-8

e-mail Jenny Hamlett

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Kate Foley

Kate Foley’s first (of 4) collection, Soft Engineering, was shortlisted for the Aldburgh Festival prize for best first collection. She is a tutor ( wordsinhere , SLN, freelance), editor (Versal, Amsterdam) and this year’s judge for the David Reid Poetry Translation Prize.

Kate is a tutor for Second Light Network and serves on the committee (see more... link below).

Ga Maar Lekker Slapen
(Sleep well now)

Ga maar lekker slapen, you say.
 
It’s 4 am. I have been standing on a blue dock.
Ice lights in the water. A ship against the quay
 
is rumbling in its guts. Steel threads run to the lip
of the gang plank. A freight wagon rolls to the edge,
unstoppable as coals down a shute. I know
it is full of my sins. I make myself
 
look at its logo, hoping it’s in Cyrillic,
something I can’t read. It’s the turning away
 
that creates furrows in our bed. When morning
comes and I open one saurian eye, I see
 
your collar bones arrow together as you bend.
In one hand a brown coffee mug, the other
 
wafting little pursed lips of fierce-smelling
wake-up coffee steam towards my sleep.
 
If I said to you I need to be sorry you’d ask
to whom, for what? since you have taught me
 
finally how to be kind. That’s just how it is,
you would say.
 
Ga maar lekker slapen.

Kate Foley

Publications:
The Silver Rembrandt, Shoestring Press, 2008
Laughter from the Hive, Shoestring Press, 2004
A Year Without Apricots, Blackwater Press, 1999
Soft Engineering, OnlyWomen Press, 1994

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Marion Ashton

Marion gained a Creative Writing MA from Royal Holloway in 2010, tutored by Andrew Motion and Jo Shapcott. Her poems have appeared in a wide range of magazines and a Cinnamon anthology. Her first collection ‘The Threshold’ was published 2018.

Skitter of Wings

We drive mile after mile through Houston sprawl –
a flashing succession of leering signs:
 
shopping-malls, car lots, eating joints,
to reach the ferry across Galverston Bay. Reeling
 
in the heat of Texan sun, hassled by screeching gulls
We finally arrive and have this long sweep
 
of Bolivar Sands to ourselves. Strong wind gusts
in from the Gulf of Mexico, stirs up the ocean,
 
sends rollers crashing on the beach – to drift back
in rasping sighs. We walk in calm silence,
 
faces turned upward, gulping salt-spray air,
bare feet squelching warm, damp sand,
 
approaching a colony of birds: terns, herons,
pelicans, preening and calling in congregation
 
along the water’s edge. We lap up the display
wanting to get closer – when, as at a gunshot,
 
they go up as one – an Alleluia of flapping,
a shaken sheet lifted, a skitter of wings
 
along the ribs – lung-filling gasps as they wheel
the sky and that lone hawk swoops back inland.

Marion Ashton

Skitter of Wings was one of the 5 Highly Commended poems in Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Competition March 2020

Publications:
The Threshold, 2018, ISBN 978-1-9770342-1-2

Marion at poetry p f
 
e-mail Marion

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Nicola Warwick

Nicola Warwick has had work in several magazines and competition anthologies. She has published two full collections. In 2018 she was awarded an MA in Creative Writing from the Open University.

Muntjac

At heart, I am a small deer
crossing a quiet lane.
You are always the driver
in a dark car
riding the bends.
You are pressed for time
so we meet
for the inevitable.
I always yield
to the force of steel,
rupturing the parts
I should have kept protected.
You continue,
a little winded,
metal scraping tarmac,
a crunch of gears.
I am left twitching
at the side of the road,
hoping you will catch me
in your mirror
when you look back.
 

Nicola Warwick

published in collection Groundings, 2014, Cinnamon Press

Publications:
The Knifethrower’s Wishlist, 2017, Indigo Dreams
Groundings, 2014, Cinnamon Press

 

e-mail Nicola

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Stevie Krayer

Stevie Krayer gave up university administration to have more time for writing and, since moving from London to Wales in 1993, has published six books, including three poetry collections, and an anthology of Quaker poets (co-edited with R V Bailey).

from “Mass for the Oort Cloud”
Agnus Dei

Thar she blows!
telltale trace
on the horizon. No
leviathan – behold
the speck of god-dust
that takes away
the weight
of that mighty
unaccounted for
dark mass
(well, maybe). Load
it up with all
your unanswered
questions, scientists!
If only
it could take
away our own
darkness – but
even if we
conscientiously put out
our garbage, there’s
no celestial dustcart
to call; and
where
could it be taken?
Out in that desert
no benign
kites and gulls
wait.

Stevie Krayer

Poem published in New Monkey, 2014

Publications:
New Monkey, 2014, Indigo Dreams, ISBN 978-1-9093574-7-1
A Speaking Silence (anthology, co-edited with R V Bailey), 2013, Indigo Dreams, ISBN 978-1-9093573-0-3
Questioning the Comet, 2004, Gomer, ISBN 1-843233-46-0
Voices from a Burning Boat, 1997, University of Salzburg, ISBN 3-7052-0132-8
The Book of Hours by R M Rilke (translation), 1994, University of Salzburg, ISBN 3-7052-0432-7

e-mail Stevie Krayer

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Wendy French

Wendy French is Chair of Lapidus, an organisation which promotes creative words for health and well-being, a facilitator for writing groups in healthcare settings and she works with Poet in the City to promote poetry and emotional wellbeing in secondary schools.

Wendy serves on the Second Light Network Committee. (see ‘More’ link below)

London Dry

A red bathmat destined for charity
lies in the moon’s path.
 
An empty bottle of gin floats
upright on bubble-less water.
 
Dressed in her best Harris Tweed
the colour of heather she’s dying
 
as she soaks in the bath. Her stale breath
and sauerkraut mouth will suggest
 
to the pathologist who teaches the art
of dissection that one’s own grief
 
isn’t so easy to stitch. In the half-lit orchard
moles bury themselves in the lawn.

Wendy French

Publications:
Splintering the Dark, Rockingham Press;
Sky over Bedlam, tall-lighthouse;
We Have a little Sister and She Hath No Breasts, tall-lighthouse

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